Bruce Thayer ('84)
Coach and volunteer
Bruce has coached baseball since 1997, but his role as a mentor took on a whole new meaning when he traveled with a group of 12- and 13-year-olds across the country. The group from Fairfax County, Va., went to Pine Ridge, S.D., to help at the Oglala Sioux Native Americans at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of America's poorest areas. The initiative to help at Pine Ridge started the previous season when the Virginia Mets, a Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League team, learned of the need for school supplies on the reservation and filled 130 backpacks with school supplies and shipped them to Pine Ridge. Convinced that this effort was not enough, the team raised $10,000 in six months to finance a trip to South Dakota during Spring Break 2007. Working with RE-MEMBER, a Native American outreach program that promotes positive change, Bruce's team helped to build beds, do home repairs and deliver supplies to families throughout the reservation. Group members have definitely embraced the volunteer spirit — they spent Spring Break 2008 at Pine Ridge and plan to do the same in 2009.
"It is definitely worth every bake sale and fundraiser when you see the growth and maturity of a group of 12- and 13-year-old kids in a situation that is completely different than anything they have ever been exposed to in their lives."